May 10, 2018
Bloomfield Twp., Mich. — Staring Down Fate, a documentary that follows the life of a wolf biologist who develops amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), made its southeast Michigan debut on Thursday evening (May 10) at the Maple Theater. Jim Hiller, a local philanthropist with an interest in ALS research, sponsored the event.
Dr. Eva Feldman, Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology and Director of the Program for Neurology Research & Discovery, and Dr. Stephen Goutman, Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the ALS Center of Excellence, were featured in the film. The film highlights groundbreaking research from the University of Michigan, finding correlations between environmental issues, like the usage of pesticides in agriculture, and the development of ALS.
Staring Down Fate chronicles the life’s work of North Carolina wolf biologist Chris Lucash. Jeff Mittelstadt, the producer of the film, provided a very true depiction of the struggles that Lucash, as well as his family and community, went through while he fought an unwinnable conflict against his own body. Lucash spent 29 years in the field dedicated to reintroducing the nearly-extinct red wolf into the North Carolina wetlands. It is believed that Lucash’s exposure to pesticides used in the North Carolina farming industry contributed to his onset of ALS.
View the Staring Down Fate trailer below. Watch the full-length film here.
About the ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine (ACEMM): The ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine is comprised of an active basic science, translational, and clinical research program and the multidisciplinary ALS clinic. This structure engages collaboration between physicians, basic scientists, nurses, ancillary providers, and research coordinators all working towards better treatments, an understanding of why a person develops ALS, and ultimately a cure for ALS. To learn more about the program, visit https://www.umich-als.org/.
About ALS: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive fatal neurodegenerative disease that leads to the death of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This in turns causes progressive weakness of voluntary skeletal muscle often leading to death in 2 to 4 years. Current therapies only minimally slow disease and new therapeutic options are critically needed.